As you may have noticed, or not (depending on the rock you are under) The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt has had amazing reception so far, that has been without a doubt more than satisfactory. Everyone has been praising it to no avail, calling it one of the finest open-world action RPG’s ever created. Honestly, I personally couldn’t agree more.
The Witcher 3 follows the Geralt of Rivia one last time as he embarks on an epic quest to find his adopted daughter Ciri, whose blood holds boundless power, before the menacing Wild Hunt manages to get their hands on her for their nefarious purposes. Along the road, depending on the choices you made in the previous game, you will come across both familiar and fresh faces. However, for my playthrough and as the developer’s intended, I started the game with clean slate.
Overall the story for The Witcher 3 is exceptional, which is told through energetic voice acting, and robust writing. Usually in a RPG game, I am compelled to read the text as fast as I can so that I can skip the mundane dialogue cutscenes. However, due to the amazing voice acting and lively animations, I have made an exception for The Witcher 3. Furthermore, if I was to give you complete description of the game’s storyline, it would take me ages to just describe a quarter of the experience. Every place, every quest, and every character and monster tell their own stories, which are written in such an astute manner that they all seem just as important as the other.
The open-world is absolutely gorgeous and filled with both breathtaking and eerie vistas. Getting from one place to the another on horseback is how I would advise you to travel for the vast majorly in order to let the big-wide-world sink in. It is easy to sit on your horse roach, and control him, making him a great mode of transport who can be called at two presses of your left analogue stick.
Usually, the problem I have found with mammoth sized open-worlds is that they usually lack any form of character, feeling like a prop rather than a lively world. Fortunately The Witcher 3 does away with that and grants you access to an open, breathing and living world filled with people, creatures and monsters to interact with. What helps a great deal with making the world feel truly alive is the games dynamic day and night system, where not only the time, but also the weather is another variable. It adds spice to the overall world.
The combat for The Witcher 3 has been greatly worked upon, and is much more responsive and easier to control when compared with The Witcher 2: Assassin’s of Kings. You have got one button for a fast attack, and another for heavy. You can deflect attacks with your left trigger and even arrows depending on what mutation you have applied to yourself. This time, not only can you roll out the way, but also dash from the attacks too. I particularly like this aspect of the game, as it allows you to strategically manoeuvre around your opponent’s attacks rather than just flinging you half way across the screen.
Sigils have also made their return and are more impressive than ever. Witchers basically utilise magic known as Sigil/Signs. These simple spells give them an additional edge in battle, and using them at the right moment is crucial to the outcome of a fight. One gesture is enough for a Witcher to hurl his foes several yards back, knock them down, set them ablaze and blind or stun them. Other signs are more subtle, but no less effective and can be used to create magical traps, charm enemies, or protect the Witcher from heavy attacks.
The way you use these is quite simple, by holding down on your left bumper, you will be given access to the ability wheel which works similar to weapon wheels from games like GTA V and Wolfenstein: The New Order. After using your left stick to highlight a particular effect, you can use the action button to assign it as your primary sign. After that, all you have to do it is use the right trigger to cast it. It is simple to use, but effective nonetheless.
You can also engage in combat on horseback, but there is an important stat that you need to pay attention too, and they are Roach’s fear levels. Basically, if you linger around enemies on horseback for too long, Roach’s fear levels will start rising, and after a certain amount of time he will be compelled to throw you on the ground and run away. So, you have to be quite considerate with him. I would rather suggest that you use him to flee more often in the beginning than to actually engage in combat. You can purchase different saddles from the merchants in order to give a boost to Roach’s ability, making him last longer in a fight before fleeing.
Another thing with combat, is that preparation is half the battle and plays key part to an outcome of a fight. Throughout your journey, you will come across ruthless and cunning creatures, monsters and spectres that are part of your Witcher contracts. The game has an excellent encyclopaedia system, where after learning about a certain adversary or defeating it, you get to know its weaknesses and strengths. This information is vital before you partake on a contract, so it is advised that you find out as much as you can about a particular foe before taking them head on.
If you are finding your contracts too hard, potions are one thing that can truly level the playing field. Basically, like the previous games, you can craft a variety of potions, each with a different effect in order to give you an edge through difficult situations. However, in order to craft these potions, you need to acquire the right amount of ingredients, which can be found from the body of a dead enemy or from plants. The weapon and armour crafting system is pretty much the same where you need to find different materials in order to build or upgrade your tools.
The only few problems I have with the game has nothing to do with the actual gameplay, but rather the User Interface itself. At times, I have noticed that the UI text is very tiny, which makes it hard to read, especially if you have a small TV. However, apparently the developers are going to address this situation in an upcoming patch. Another problem I have had, and this is a much serious one is that the game under-performs during some scenarios, going below 30fps. Now I understand that the consoles are not necessarily powerful enough to show every bell and whistle like the PC, but it could have done with more optimisation.
Furthermore, I don’t particularly like that the game doesn’t allow you to grind much for XP or money and the only way you can hope to acquire an ample amount of them is through quests, quests which are recommended to be tackled at a higher player level. It doesn’t make much sense and really limits you quite a bit. Those are pretty much the only quarrels I have with the game, but overall considering the amazing game that this is, these problems aren’t that frustrating.
I would also like to really commend developers CDPR for their generosity. Usually I don’t factor in the actual packaging or content you get with the game into my reviews, but this time I have to. Every copy of the game comes with at least the soundtrack, map, compendium, manual and some stickers. Don’t even get me started on the heartfelt thank you card you get for buying the product and the free DLC that has been rolling out since the release.
On an ending note, is that The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is by far the best fantasy action-RPG game I have ever played. It is filled to the brim with stuff to do. I truly cannot recommend this game enough, and everyone reading owes it to themselves to at least try the game, and I promise you, you won’t be disappointed.
+ Excellent Storyline
+ Great Combat
+ Interesting Quests
+ Geralt Is Still A Badass
+ Breathtaking Open World
+ Dynamic Day And Night Cycle
- No Grind Possibility >